Ventura removed the Padre Serra statue that has been in front of City Hall in the middle of the night last night.
By Michael Hernandez
VENTURA—City officials chose to remove the Junipero Serra statue in the middle of the night on Wednesday. Nothing but the pedestal remains along with the chain link fence.
The City Council approved (July 15) in a unanimous 6-0 vote a motion to remove the Junipero Serra bronze statue from in front of the City Hall and the wooden statue from the City Hall atrium. Councilmember Erik Nazarenko (District 4) made the motion seconded by Councilmember Jim Friedman (District 5). Mayor Matt LaVere was recused (absent) from the special meeting on the statue because of his involvement in attempting to broker an agreement to remove the statue prior to City Council action.
Councilmember Friedman claimed that city council members had received over 2,500 emails, 2,000 pages of written comments and seen 3,000 comments on Next Door and Facebook that were split 50:50 on the issue. Four petitions on change.org also generated almost an additional 17,000 signatures. The City Council also heard 96 public comments during the July 15 meeting.
The motion considered by the City Council stated that both statues would be permanently relocated to a place that city staff deemed feasible and appropriate with the intent that the bronze statue be given to the Mission San Buenaventura.
The original Junipero Serra concrete statues was installed in 1936 as a product of the Works Progress Administration (New Deal). A City Council Resolution made it Landmark #3 in 1974. This concrete statue was replaced and moved to an off-site storage in 1989 and replaced by a wood Junipero Serra statue which was placed in the Atrium of City Hall after being used as a mold for the bronze statue installed in 1989.
The Historical Preservation Committee ruled that both replacement statues did not qualify for historic status which was only given to the concrete Junipero Serra statue which meant that an environmental report was not needed to remove the statue. The City expects litigation on the removal of the statue with five possible bias allegations involving city council members. The City Council seats of Cheryl Heitmann, Matt LaVere, and Christy Weir are up for re-election this November.
(Editor’s Note: To see the original Citizens Journal story on the City Council vote to remove the Junipero Serra statue go to this link:
Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service; editor of the History Makers Report and founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor. He worked 25 years as a middle school teacher in Monrovia and Los Angeles Unified School Districts. Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email at [email protected].
Photos by David Pu’u Biography:
David Pu’u is a Photographer, Cinematographer and Writer with broad experience ranging from editorial publication, to television and feature film production. For the past 20 years David has been a leader in the imaging community through his contributions to both new technology and uses of high-speed motion capture in film and digital 3D formats, which have been featured prominently on the global stage.
Currently David works as lead creative and CEO of Neocreative Inc, which develops and licenses IP related to Photography, Literature and Film. He has held a Federal Certification as a Rescue Boat Operator and First Responder via K38 Maritime, and has received extensive training in risk assessment and mitigation in marine environments.
David is the CEO for Ocean Ohana Inc., which operates Betty Belts, an international Corporation, designed to educate and organize the Ocean Community, and which creates, manufactures, markets and retails ocean centric product, that features both social and environmentally sustainable themes.
David has also contributed to the Think Tank type projects of the Sea-Space Initiative and Blue Mind, both working in, and leading, study groups in the Google and Washington DC Summits, as well as presenting at Blue Mind and working in group study at ARUP in San Francisco.
Staff Photographer: Surfing Magazine, Senior Staff Photographer: Surfer Magazine
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